April 06, 2010

And Something About Non-Sober Intoxicating Beverages...

Randy Mosher in Tasting Beer writes about agricultural societies and the invention of beer:
"Those who study the birth of civilizations and beer note that the two happened at about the same time. Barley was one of the earliest cultivated grains, and the fact that it emerged in domesticated form with just the right characteristics for brewing tells us a lot. Leaving the nomadic life behind for a pot of gruel is one thing, but toss in beer and it's a hard deal to turn down.
It is my belief that squeezing people into cities generates a certain amount of itchy friction, but this can be eased by a social lubricant like beer, served up in that other beloved institution, the tavern, which appeared on the scene not long after beer...

Those more scholarly than I make the claim that beer is one thing that allowed people to come together in unnaturally crowded settings, like cities. It's certainly true today that beer helps to take the edge off and makes cities much more livable. I'm not pointing any fingers, but look at the places where beer is absolutely forbidden. It's easy to see the contrast."
I wonder how careful are we to respect the way we've evolved? To respect the fact that we're designed to move, not sit all day, for example. And perhaps all the trouble that American Indians have with alcohol is primarily a failure to recognize that that's not something they've evolved to process, unlike those of European descent. Alcohol is meant to go with agricultural societies and Indians have been nomadic until relatively recently. Seems like Native Americans go against the grain (pun intended) in drinking the "fire-water" that the Europeans unnaturally introduced late to their society.

No comments: